For those who are not NBA basketball fans, I need to lay some groundwork:
Phil Jackson is the hall of fame coach who led (or depending on who you ask was just along for the ride for) the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships and later was head coach for five more NBA Championships with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol. After a historic coaching run, he is now President of the New York Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony is a three-time Olympic Gold-medal winner and 9-Time NBA All-Star. He has been the star of the New York Knicks since being traded there from Denver back in 2011. ‘Melo signed a 5 year, $124 million contract to play for the Knicks through the 2018-2019 season. The blockbuster deal includes a “No-Trade Clause” which allows Carmelo to veto any trade offer the Knicks bring to the table.
Now about eternal security—eternal security is sometimes referred to as “Once-Saved, Always-Saved.” Essentially, it is the teaching that salvation is a gift that God gives and one that He ensures will be received. The implications are that every person who ever places genuine faith in Christ is saved and will receive the promised reward of salvation which is eternal life.
Contrast eternal security with the teaching that a person once saved can fall from grace and lose the reward of eternal salvation through their own choices. Essentially, this position holds that a lifestyle of holiness in this life is required for anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of heaven in the next life.
This issue is not one for scholars and theologians alone to wrestle with. This issue of security or trust is at the heart of every relationship including the one between Carmelo, the Knicks and Phil Jackson. Here’s why: Until I know that you are committed to me, I will hesitate in my commitment to you.
In the NBA saga of ‘Melo and Phil, Phil Jackson has publicly and often demonstrated that he and the Knicks organization are not committed to Carmelo Anthony. Were they to be given the right trade arrangement and were it to be ok’d by Carmelo, ‘Melo would be out of there! This sense of distrust and hesitation weighs on the psyche of a person.The constant trade rumors, the boos from the New York fans and the barrage of comments from reporters—you can see it all weigh on Carmelo. It’s on his face and in his body language.
By contrast, what if Phil Jackson and the Knicks had told Carmlo, his family and the world, “Carmelo Anthony will always be a New York Knick. We will honor and support you Carmelo. If we get any calls to trade you, the answer is already a resounding ‘No!’ It doesn’t matter what the deal is!” To be sure, that level of commitment to an athlete has no place in the business that is professional sports, but the whole Knicks/Melo/Phil situation is a modern-day example of the impact of eternal security in a relationship.
If you don’t know whether or not you will make it to Heaven or not, I can understand why you might live with one foot in the world and one foot in the church. I mean, after all, you could never be sure if you were truly loved and accepted by God anyway so of course your mind would wonder, “Am I even saved?” Especially after a disappointing day or a poor decision.
But, what if you knew that God was absolutely for you and that your salvation didn’t start with you and wouldn’t end with you. What if you knew that God—long before you were born—planned for you to be born and orchestrated ever detail of your life to bring you to Himself. What if you knew that God—because of nothing that you possessed—just chose to love you and to make you His own in spite of your failings. What if you knew that God—before you ever sinned—had purposed to give you eternal life through the gift of His Son. Friend, your salvation and mine has everything to do with GOD! You weren’t smart enough or good enough to save yourself and you certainly aren’t strong enough or holy enough to keep yourself but the good news is that God is!
Because God is responsible for your salvation, you can live! You can love Him with abandon. You can take risks that will glorify and honor Him. You can say no to your base instincts and yes to your deeper desire to please the Lord.
I bet that ‘Melo could tell Phil a thing or two about how good it would feel to have the kind of commitment that God gives His children but alas, the NBA is just entertainment. However, your soul’s salvation is real—and it a certain reality in the hand of God.
NOTE: The clear teaching of Scripture is that those born of a new seed bear fruit in keeping with that seed. However, this is not to say that one’s fruit on a given day is categorically indicative of the state of their soul. IF you are not sure whether you have a trusting relationship with Jesus Christ, please read your Bible and talk to God then ask someone who you trust walks with God to talk with you about it.